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Mobile Development: Is Agile Methodology A Good Fit?

Mobile Development: Is Agile Methodology A Good Fit?

Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been massive enthusiasm with respect to advancements in mobile technology. High-end mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and tablets are swarming the market. With the latest trends and statistics suggesting that more users will access the internet to complete day-to-day tasks via their mobile devices rather than using traditional computers, companies are becoming increasingly eager to make their websites and e-Commerce applications mobile friendly.

As a result, the software industry has had a massive shift towards mobile application development. While web and desktop application development is still not dead, mobile application development is quickly taking preference. Technology consulting for mobile application development has streamlined to become an industry with great market potential.

Where Agile Development Comes Into Play?

Mobile developers are doing research and establishing software disciplines with respect to mobile application development. One major challenge faced by mobile developers and technology consulting professionals is that mobile hardware and infrastructure evolves rapidly, that they need to achieve the same speed with their application development.

This rapid evolution makes the average lifespan of a mobile application around 12 months. Therefore, the challenge to the developer is to produce a commercial application as quickly as possible with all required features, performance and quality. This is where agile development comes into play.

Agile methodology for software development refers to an incremental and iterative approach among self-organizing and cross-functioning teams who work collaboratively to deliver effective and quality software solutions. It seeks to breakdown a large application into smaller workable chunks and conduct development, testing, documentation and release of those chunks separately.

Agile methodology is a comparatively new development methodology introduced during the last decade, and over the years, its capabilities and suitability has been well proven in enterprise software development. Experts on technical consulting now believe that agile methodology is a suitable approach to mobile development, given its frequency of evolution and lifespan.

Mobile Development: Is Agile Methodology A Good Fit?

How Agile Methodology Can Be Used For Mobile Application Development?

When mobile applications are first released, they are generally not expected to be perfect. Enhancements and corrections come with upgrades, beginning with beta versions and followed by versions 1.0, 2.0, etc. This fits the incremental and iterative strategy, which is the core of agile methodology.

Moreover, agile development is driven by the change requests and rewrites, which allows developers to be responsive to the user feedback as well as the requirement changes from a business perspective. Whenever the hardware platforms change — which happens quite frequently — the mobile applications need to cater to the new platforms.

Also, a direct comparison of the features of mobile applications and the characteristics of agile methodology has proven that areas such as amount of documentation, planning, scale of the application and environmental volatility tend to overlap as collaborative features, which shows that agile is a suitable methodology for mobile application development. Furthermore, if done properly, agile can be the most cost-effective way to handle challenges in mobile application development.

The following diagram illustrates how agile methodology can be used for mobile application development:

Potential Challenges Of Agile Methodology For Mobile Development & How To Address These Challenges:

The most common objections to using the agile methodology for mobile development can easily be addressed. Here are a couple examples of potential challenges to this methodology and solutions for ensuring your agile project is a success:

  • It is quite common for a mobile development team to be comprised of associates from different parts of the world. In such scenarios, daily scrum meetings –a highlight in agile process — can be quite challenging. However, with proper planning and the use of video conferencing technology, free online communication tools, etc. this challenge can easily be resolved. 
  • Another potential drawback with agile is the general assumption that the agile process overlooks the needs for proper documentation. As a result, it is sometimes a fear that agile developers will overlook product documentation and simply focus on development. However, proper documentation of requirements, design, architecture and user guides, as with any development project, can prevent improper documentation. 

The rapid growth in mobile applications enforces enterprise developers to move quickly with their mobile application development, while ensuring the quality, performance and timeliness of delivery. That’s quite a challenge for a mobile application developer.

Agile approaches has proven to be a perfect fit here, because, like mentioned above, it has certain features which are ideal for the nature of mobile applications. Due to this, many of today’s successful mobile application vendors have comfortably transformed to the agile development methodology to keep up with the constant changes in the industry.

About the Author:
Danny Bob is a professional writer and blogger. He is a technology consulting and a professional guest blogger. He usually likes to write about trending and technical topics.

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